Eagle Deaths Drop Massively Thanks to Smart Cameras on Wind Turbines

Nature |

For years, people who have been opposed to the use of wind turbines have found many faults with the project. Some associate their inefficiency in running and building costs. Others associate their eyesore appearance on the horizon, ruining otherwise beautiful images. Others? Others focus on the number of avoidable deaths that they create – especially in the avian populace. Especially across America, there has been a big fightback to reduce the use of wind turbines thanks to their high propensity to cause deaths in a national treasure – the Eagle.

Despite renewable energy being a very valid and worthwhile goal to aim for, some believe the cost to birds isn’t worth the cost. Well, someone has done something about this problem, as IdentiFlight has come up with a wonderful solution. they have developed a smart camera that detects the presence of birds and, if the birds are endangered, the blades will showdown prior to impact. This allows the bird to gracefully fly on by without having to worry about being sliced into ribbons by the wind turbine.

The cameras, which have been looked into the Journal of Applied Ecology in a published study. This shows that the curtailment program would help to decrease eagle fatalities by as much as 82%. That would be a massive change and could help to avoid the death of protected avian species.

Can wind turbines be fitted with smart cameras en masse?

Sadly, this probably won’t be something that is rolled out as standard across the industry for some time now. The study, though, did take in some 176 different wind turbines – 47 of them were fitted with the automated curtailment systems. They found that the numbers were drastically reduced with the use of the automated system, helping to avoid needless death.

The study was great for making sure that eagles wouldn’t be harmed as they flew by these wind turbines. While renewable energy is a vital part of our future, it is worth making sure that it does not come with a large natural and ethical cost. After all, the idea of moving away from such single-use and destructive forms of energy and resources is to avoid harming nature, right?

Well, with the help of these automated cameras, we might be able to make it just a touch safer for birds to fly around without being disrupted or harmed. 

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Harry Anson

An adventurer, writer, and photographer. I have traveled to four continents, lived in one, studied in the other rode a motorbike in the third and did humanitarian aid in the fourth. Life is too short to think about the past and the future. It's all in the present.